By Brent Schanding
Landmark News Service
Twelve top-qualifying Henry County Middle School students will advance to the Governor's Cup Regional academic competition this month, after earning high marks earlier in various areas.
The team finished 7-3 this year, taking second place overall in January's district competition. They'll have the home court advantage when they face 13 other teams, Feb. 16 and 18 at HCMS, for the regional title.
"This has been a rebuilding year for us," co-coach Kathy Gregory said. "We're facing really strong northern Kentucky teams."
Those teams include Connor, Camp Ernst Middle, and the private Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Paul School. Trimble, Carroll, Gallatin and Grant counties and Maurice Bowling, Williamstown, Ockerman, Gray and Walton Verona schools will also compete.
The quick-recall team brushed up on polynomials last week, heading into regional competition.
"Math tends to be our weaker area," Gregory said.
The team also is studying questions they missed in previous competitions, in hopes of not repeating some simple mistakes.
Gregory said several students could qualify for state competition this year by earning high marks on their individual tests. The tests include core subject areas like language arts, math and science. The top five scorers will advance to state competition and the top two quick-recall teams from this month's match-up will earn the right to compete in Kentucky's State Governor Cup competition.
It's believed HCMS has never taken a quick-recall team to state.
"I think our FPS team has a good chance at going to state, too," Gregory said, in part because the team finished first in this year's district tournament.
In upcoming competition, the four-member Future Problem Solving team, will have limited time to brainstorm solutions for a hypothetical problem, that could range from global warming to robotic invasions. The top two FPS teams from the region also will advance to state competition.
Last week, academic team members gathered in the HCMS library to go head-to-head for a quick-recall practice session.
Jason Banta, a seventh grade team member, who sometimes serves as captain for the quick-recall team, said the team is looking confident.
"I think we'll do pretty good," he said. "Everyone on our team is pretty strong."
Banta said that HCMS team members Jordan Campbell and Ryan Garrett should have good showings at this month's tournament.
But Banta says he'll also be watching a strong Trimble County team, which includes at least one key player. Trimble stomped HCMS twice in its regular season. HCMS also suffered two losses to Trimble by narrower margins in last month's district tournament.
"But Ms. Gregory and Ms. Shields are good coaches," Banta said.
Mitzi Shields, who has co-coached the team the last several years also was positive about this team's chances.
"These kids are really fun to work with. I just try to get them excited," said Shields, who sometimes bribes them with food to practice harder. "After school they're starving."
Shields told the team last week she'd buy them Dairy Queen Blizzards, if they have a great showing in the regional tournament.
Hopefully, it won't cause "brain freezes" for those who advance to state.
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